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Wikispooks has various standards, which are important not only for clarity but particularly to help the software to automatically find and interlink material between different pages. Although this page is only editable by administrators,[1] all editors are encouraged to contribute their ideas and comments to the talk page.

Templates for Pages

Full article: Wikispooks:Semantic_Objects

All pages in the main: namespace must have exactly one object template. This determines broadly what the page is about and is needed by SMW. See here for a list of available objects. This policy was fixed in June 2014.

Page Names

Page names are a key part of helping people use the site. Names are obviously important so that hyperlinks work as expected, but the use of Semantic Mediawiki add another level - these names become semantic 'anchors' used to connect data items. In addition, some Wikispooks:Templates parse page titles, e.g. to extract surnames from them. Ideals page names are short, descriptive and unambiguous.

Using Wikipedia

Wikipedia is often a useful reference point as regards names, and all other factors being equal, provides a simple choice which will generally be understood. It should be noted that all other factors are not necessarily equal since pagenames are regularly massaged by interested parties, so while an equivalent Wikipedia page name is a good default, careful consideration is still warranted.


The character "/" has a special meaning in the context of pagenames, since Wikispooks uses mediawiki subpages to indicate a hierarchical (dependent) relationship. A page title of the form A/B can be read as "the B of A". For example, John F. Kennedy/Assassination is the assassination of John F. Kennedy. A redirect at JFK Assassination points to the longer form, which is semantically useful to the software. Similarly, the Warren Commission, which covered up the crime, redirects to a sub-sub-page: John F. Kennedy/Assassination/Cover-up.

Such standardised pagenames fulfill the role of binomial names in biology; existing in parallel with alternative common names, they provide an easily interpreted structure intended to help both software and humans in navigation around the pages, and could be used in conjunction with particular Semantic properties. Common subpage names include:

For events which feature a country name in the title (e.g. the 1953 Iranian coup d'état), best practice is to use a subpage, i.e. Iran/1953 coup d'état, since this is short, clear and more helpful to viewers of the parent page - Iran.

People's Names

The first mention of a page topic should be in bold, at of very near to the start of the lede paragraph. To help disambiguate individuals, and to clarify their establishment credentials, this mention should include all middle names, initials, and titles awarded (whether from birth or as a result of actions carried out). For simplicity, consistency and to redress credentialism, names of individuals should otherwise be devoid of titles.

Where people are commonly referred to by their title, a redirect page is fine. e.g. Colonel Gaddafi is a redirect to the main page, Muammar Gaddafi. This can be varied where a title has become integral to the name, e.g. "Dr Rola". This site supports Unicode, so for non-English names you should have no trouble using the appropriate accented characters (ä, Ç, ë...).


Middle names and initials are generally deprecated, but provide one simple way to avoid ambiguity where people share the same first and last names, and are preferred to honorary titles for this purpose. Another option is to give a modifier in brackets after the name. Where only one other person shares the name, the lede should begin with a simple link in italics to the other page.[2]


Pseudonyms should be placed within single quotes. (e.g. 'Stakeknife')


Generally, middle initials should be avoided in titles, unless this is helpful either for clarity or to avoid ambiguity. When using initials, always use a dot after them, to distinguish them from one letter names (such as U Thant).

Names of books, films etc.

Since 2017, Wikispooks has recommended all names of publications should be in italics. This allows for easy disambiguation of otherwise identically named concepts. For example, Alan Francovich produced a film entitled Operation Gladio about the NATO Operation Gladio. Standards for the target page name are not set, but as usual it should be simple and clear (in this case, the italic text is a link to Operation Gladio (film)).


For consistency and clarity, page titles which are nouns should generally be given in the singular. So, the article about False Flag Attacks is actually entitled "False Flag Attack" - note that Mediawiki's link syntax means that this plurals can be easily linked like this: [[False Flag Attack]]s

Letter Case

Mediawiki automatically capitalizes the first letter of each pagename, but for multiple word titles, there is ambiguity about whether the other words should be capitalized or not. e.g. False Flag Attack or False flag attack? The standard is to use lower case where possible. Subpages should have an initial capital. This policy was only adopted in February 2014, so some older page names do not yet follow it.

Special Characters

Although this site has full support for unicode, not all other sites do, and since non-ascii characters can lead to unexpected results in some software,[3] it is good practice to use standard ascii unless alternatives yield a tangible benefit - so use of foreign accents is recommended for names because of increased accuracy, but a simple apostrophe or quote mark is preferred to the unicode variants.

Events with Dates

Many pagenames have dates for greater clarity or to avoid ambiguity (e.g. the 2003 Iraq war). Where a year is part of the title, it is recommended to put this first for consistency's sake, and also to help with sorting.

Other Names

Although none are as widely used or as important as page names, there are a host of other items for which standards would simplify and improve Wikispooks.


SMW is preferred over categories for organising content as it is more modern and flexible. There is a legacy category tree, but do not add categories to it or use categories. Categories are used however, for organising the templates which make up this site and the community portal.


Full article: Wikispooks:Semantic Properties

SMW uses relationships referred to as "Properties", most of which (but not all) have the form "Has something".


As with properties, these are mostly used 'behind the scenes', so templates don't impinge on the user experience, but standardisation is important to facilitate collaboration between those who create them.


A standard for custom Wikispooks templates was fixed in June 2014, although it is not yet followed by all Wikispooks templates and is still subject to review. Parameter names should be :

  • all in lower case letters (although exceptions are possible, for clarity, e.g. "ON_" to differentiate official narratives)
  • connected by underscores (_) and not spaces where multiple words exist

This standard does not apply to templates are imported other websites.

Image size

There are no strict standards for image sizes, it is always a judgement call. Both aesthetic and — especially for small screen sizes — practical considerations apply. The commonest size is probably 300px. Where a page already has several images, copying one of their widths is often a good choice. Especially wide and/or important images may merit a greater width, especially if they are intended to stand alone rather than alongside text.


If in doubt, more redirects is better than less. However, do check the correct spelling before you make a redirect. Creating lots of redirects for incorrect spellings is not generally useful. While it is good that users can follow the link, this obscures the fact that a red link is an easy way to spot the spelling mistake. It is important to avoid 'circular' redirects - ones which link back to the page.


Mediawiki markup allows some flexibility as regards use of spaces. This section, for example, is headed == Whitespace == but could equally be ==Whitespace== or even == Whitespace==. Since it is not displayed to the reader, it is generally not of importance, but is relevant to use of Special:ReplaceText. For templates parameters, the preferred standard is to start each parameter in column 1 and not to include extraneous spaces, so |description=... is preferred to |description =...[4]

Project links

The Mediawiki software automatically aliases the Project: namespace to the Wikispooks: namespace. This should be used in preference as it is more portable - or use the custom Template:WSLink.

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